Let’s just go ahead and start here on my 50 before 50 journey.
Washington is where I was born, where I’ve lived my entire life. Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful North Cascades.
I spent my first 12 years in Everett, just blocks from the hospital where I was birthed by my amazing mother. My parents were divorced. I’d visit my dad on the weekends.
Then at 12, we moved a little hop, skip and jump north, where I finished my K-12 education. I attended college and graduate school right here in Washington and now I teach here too (right in the same town and at the same school I attended). I’ve lived my entire life in a little tiny speck of this big giant globe (if you think the earth is flat, I kind of hate you by default and you are not allowed to read my blog…unless of course, you would like the educating you so clearly need).
I think I got my wanderlust from my daddio. He loves to drive around for hours and hours and hours. He doesn’t really leave the state. His favorite place to be is Conconully. It’s a pretty cool little place. One should definitely check it out someday. My dad just worked to make the money he needed to have the fun he wanted. He counts his years in hunting seasons, not birthdays. Wanderlust.
I get my responsibility from my mom. She is the hardest working lady I know. Bought a house and raised three girls. Went to work everyday. Got a second job to help me pay for college. She cooked dinner every night (something I don’t aspire to do…sorry kids and husband). Raises a grandson. But she never really takes vacation. Responsibility.
She’s about to retire. And no one deserves it more.
So you ask why I tell you this and how it relates to the great state of Washington.
Patience. Every great story must first paint the portrait of the main characters.
My point is that I set big goals and I work hard to achieve them (mom traits). I’ve spent all my years in this state, which I always want to come home to (great state of Washington). But the world is vast and I want to see and experience it (dad traits).
Washington is my home. Where my heart is. It has everything. The Ocean. Mountains. Lakes and Rivers. Distinct Seasons. It’s A Geologic Masterpiece. You can’t find that everywhere. Not all of it.
So while my wanderlust calls me to new and different locations, I shall always return to my home.
Read on for MY top 6 places to visit in Washington State (in no particular order):
The first time I visited, I had just turned 16 and traveled with my high school boyfriend and his family.
It was beautiful and amazing. I was awestruck and not just because of young love and all. The place is unlike any other.
It touts the title, “most northwest point in the contiguous United States”. It has countless beaches, inlets and coves that appear as if no one has walked on them. Where else can you find a beach full of teeny, tiny shells intact?
Seriously you’ve got to check it out. I returned in 2013 on a camping trip with the fam and it didn’t disappoint.
Definitely check out Cape Flattery Trail.
And explore when the tides are out. It’s truly amazing all the sea creatures you may glimpse in the countless tide pools.
So some of you may wonder why this little town makes the list. Some of you may not. Granite Falls is the gateway to the Mountain Loop and the North Cascades and some of the best hiking trails in the state.
I really want to become a hiker. Maybe someday.
As a kid my dad (wanderlust inspiration) would take us camping in Verlot and we would swim in the river and hike trails. I honestly have no idea which hikes I did as a kid, but there were many during summers with Dad. We definitely checked out the Big Four Ice Caves.
Wow. Just wow. Want to feel one with nature (bugs included)? Just go to this website and pick any one. But do your research. And go prepared. Don’t be one of those yahoos that head out without a plan and supplies.
Have you heard of the Grand Coulee Dam?
If not, I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life. Just kidding, but…
It’s one of the largest concrete structures in the world with 12 million cubic yards of concrete. The engineering and design from the 1940’s is so impressive. A tour guide once told us that a group of construction engineers who were marveling at and impressed by the massive structure said, “Today, we could build this faster, but not better”. The Grand Coulee Dam supplies power to 11 Western States. That’s right 11. Which makes it the largest hydropower producer in the United States and the 6th largest producer in the world! Whoa!
Lake Roosevelt and the Banks Lake are two Grand Coulee destinations that resulted from the reclamation project. Both are large (Roosevelt is 130 miles long and Banks is almost 27 miles long) and provide tons of fishing, boating, camping, swimming and summer fun for our family and many others. It’s our favorite summer tradition and home to some very important people in our lives.
Check it out….you won’t regret it! And tour the dam, take some dam pictures, buy a dam shirt or watch the dam laser light show while you’re there (see what I did there). Haha!
I mean, duh. This has to make the list. Seattle is a cool city. It’s got a chill progressive vibe. I for one love the cool things that Seattleites stand and fight for.
My husband loves to see all the tower cranes. Wait, you say…those hideous things that just block the view? Actually my friends, those beauties created the view. You can’t be married to a man that covets construction of any kind and not appreciate the fact that tower cranes signify growth and a good economy. So next time you notice one…salute the men and women who build your views.
Amazonville. Seriously, why didn’t I buy stock back when my mom-in-law ordered her first book from out of that garage. Oh that’s right. She’s a trend setter! But those spheres. What an engineering beauty. Plus add in all that greenery. Horticulture is art for sure. My VIP Birthday tour was the perfect gift.
And of course, there’s the basics:
Pike Place Market, The Gum Wall, The Space Needle, The Aquarium and Pacific Science Center, Seattle Art Museum, Concerts and Plays and Parks and Views and Shopping galore…
You could Ride the Ducks too. I just did it for the first time this summer and I survived!
This is one of my family’s favorites. It’s a cool summer spot. It’s crazy busy, so if you don’t like people, don’t go.
Lake Chelan is a 50 mile lake that is a draw for fishermen (and women), boaters, and water sports fanatics alike. You can camp at the campground, stay at the Wapato Point condos or lodge in one of the many hotels or rentals.
If you prefer to wine your way through a vacation, then the Chelan Valley is your spot. With over 30 wineries and 250 acres of grape vines, there is something for everyone.
Take a boat. Cruise around. I mean those views are breathtaking.
The islands (and all of the puget sound) are a beautiful geologic treasure created by glacial weathering, erosion, deposition and eventual melting. And of course that ice dam breaking some 13,000 years ago and allowing the Pacific Ocean waters to mix with river waters. All that science. Totally nerding out right now!
If you get a chance to ferry to Friday Harbor on the island of San Juan or any of the islands, you might get lucky enough to see some Orcas of the Pacific Northwest (and you should note that these creatures are struggling to survive and may one day become extinct). Oh and whales do not belong in captivity, so don’t go to Sea World. Just sayin’.
Make sure you check out some lighthouses and beaches and take a moment (or several) to appreciate some of the beauty of this great state.
I’ve barely scratched the surface and this list could go on and on. I’ve lived in Washington my entire life and there’s so much I haven’t seen.
So you all tell me! Where is YOUR happy place in Washington State?
Up Next: Oregon